Canary Islands (Spain)
A few important/interesting sites...
This island is home to some of the most unusual and stunning vineyards in the world. A series of volcanic eruptions on the island running from 1730 to 1736 have covered the island in volcanic ash, with little managing to grow here. Except for grape vines that is! The vines are planted into crater like holes and protected from the island’s strong winds by half-moon shaped stone walls. The main variety here is the white Malvasia Volcanica. The wines produced tend be structured, mineral and aromatic.
Producers to try: Puro Rofe
The Canary Islands are a volcanic archipelago found around 100km off the west coast of Africa. Despite being part of Spain, they are far closer to Morocco than Europe.
Despite being so close to the equator the islands are humid and warm but not as hot as you would expect. The islands are cooled by a combination of high altitudes and the northeasterly trade winds called the “Canary Current”, which bring cool air from the Arctic regions. The islands are highly varied with some real altitude. Vineyards sit from around 500 meters above sea level to well over 1000 meters.
There are seven islands with vines grown primarily on six (there are barely any grapes on Fuerteventura): Tenerife, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, Gran Canaria and El Hierro. Although they are all vaguely volcanic in origin, each island has a its own unique terroir.
The islands are a mix of almost entirely indigenous grape varieties. Phylloxera has never reached the island, meaning the islands have managed to retain their historical diversity. There are some extremally old vines on these islands, planted in old, terraced vineyards.
A few grapes you will regularly come across are Listan Negro, Listan Blanco (the local Palomino clone), Malvasia Volcanica and Negramoll.
An area located on the northeast point of Tenerife. The vines here are planted on the volcanic rock cliffs above the Atlantic Ocean. The vineyards here are a co-planted mix of native varieties and can be very old. The terrain here is very rugged and must be worked by hand.
Producers to try: Envinate
The terroir here is highly varied with large changes in altitude (from 200 to 1500m), topography and climate. Vines can be found anywhere from shallow valleys to steep slopes. In the south (Fuencaliente) you find dry, cooler sites and volcanic ash soils while in the north there can be plenty of rain and fertile soils. The whites are a varied blend of natives while the reds are dominated by Negramoll, which produces light, smoky wines here.
Producers to try: Mattia i Torres